Early demand for Viagra, the new potency pill from Pfizer, has been so enormous that it has caused worries about an unexpected rise in health care expenses. Newspapers have reported the weekly sales of Viagra the way they earlier reported the gross for Titanic. In April one urologist was quoted by the Washington Post as saying, "If we were in the military, I think we would call in and say our position is being overrun."
For liberals, it's the lost crusade. For conservatives, it's the emblematic case of overweening big government. Perhaps more clearly than in any other issue, federal action to achieve universal health coverage brings out ideological and partisan differences in America. In the early 1990s, health care became a defining conflict for the nation, and so it remains today. The uninsured figure prominently in the debates between Al Gore and Bill Bradley, but they're only a marginal issue for the Republican presidential candidates.
In Washington, it could have been much worse. As a military strike, while the terrorists' attack succeeded in New York, it failed in the capital -- but for reasons that we cannot depend upon to protect us in the future. The bravery of a few passengers on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania prevented it from reaching its target, and for reasons as yet unknown the plane originating at Dulles that was streaking toward the White House veered and struck the Pentagon, killing a large number of people but failing to hit any command-related functions.
Let there be no doubt that America is justified in
going to war against what President Bush describes as terrorism of "global
reach." After September 11, we have to assume that any group willing to kill
thousands of people in the World Trade Center's twin towers would be willing to
use weapons of mass destruction. We have every right to defend ourselves by
pursuing such terrorists not only in the United States and nations that ally
themselves with us, but also in the countries that provide havens for them.
When I wrote "The Choice In Kosovo" in early May, the failure of
the United States and NATO to make a credible threat of a ground
invasion seemed likely to result in a diplomatic settlement that
fell far short of the legitimate aims of the war. A month later,
these concerns have only partially been borne out. Milosevic has
accepted the terms presented by NATO (and negotiated with
Russia), calling for the withdrawal of Serbian forces, entry of
an international peacekeeping force including NATO, repatriation
of the refugees, disarming of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA),
and apparently indefinite Yugoslavian sovereignty over Kosovo.
The exact terms of the agreement and their practical